Tier 2 Football Championship proposals heading for special congress
It has been agreed to move the All-Ireland senior club finals from March to January
The finals of the two Tier 2 Football Championship proposals under both proposals would take place at Croke Park. Photograph: Inpho
The GAA’s Central Council have sent forward two proposals on the possible introduction of a Tier 2 Senior Football Championship to a special congress in October.
The special congress will be staged at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on October 19th, with a view to implementation in time for the 2020 Championship summer. In addition, it has been agreed to move the All-Ireland senior club finals from March to January next year.
In 2020 the senior semi-finals in hurling and football will be played across the weekend of January 4/5th. The AIB All-Ireland club senior finals in hurling and football will now be played on Sunday, January 19th.
Proposal A will feature the provincial Championships as present with the current four rounds of All-Ireland qualifiers reducing to two rounds and open to teams from Allianz Divisions One and Two and any Allianz Division Three and Four teams who qualify for their provincial finals.
The Tier 2 Championship format of Proposal A is a straight knock out competition for 16 teams from across Divisions Three and Four that do not make their provincial finals.
There is the possibility for the competition to be organised on a geographical basis - northern and southern conferences for first round ties, quarter-finals and semi-finals to ensure less travel for teams and supporters, while also retaining local rivalries. The semi-finals would be the only senior inter-county GAA events on their respective weekend - barring a major replay.
Proposal B which has gone forward for discussion is similar to the above and also features Division Three and Four teams that do not reach a provincial final entering a new Tier 2 championship.
A key difference is that in the event that a Division Three or Four team do reach a provincial final, to make up 16 teams in Tier 2 their place in Tier 2 would be taken by the lowest ranked Division Two team from that year’s Allianz league.
The format for the Tier 2 Championship in Proposal B features an initial round of games which then creates a winners’ group and a losers’ group and so offers beaten counties a way of playing their way back into contention.
An additional prize for the winner of the final under both proposals would be a place reserved in the following year’s All-Ireland Sam Maguire championship, irrespective of their league position.
It is also envisaged that both proposals would have dedicated broadcast coverage and a marketing and promotional campaign with a dedicated All-Star selection and tour. The finals under both proposals would take place at Croke Park.